GIRARD — One team stood above the rest in Girard on Thursday night, as Pittsburg High School volleyball capped off an undefeated night with a 2-0 victory over Girard in a competitive battle.
After Pittsburg and Girard both swept Columbus and Fort Scott in two sets, nothing came easy in the final game of the night between the Purple Dragons and the Trojans. However, Pittsburg was the last team standing, beating Girard in two sets by scores of 25-21 and 26-24.
“The girls stuck together, they listened to each other and they made plays they were asked to do,” PHS head coach Megan Mantooth said. “It was nice to see their competitive edge come out, watch them push themselves and be able to come out on top. It was a good game.”
The two teams were trading points to begin the first set, but PHS managed to score five consecutive points, with the help of two kills from Kaitlyn Kidd and Kaydn Matlock, to extend a one-point lead out to a 19-13 cushion.
Still going back and forth, the Trojans received a kill from Sydnee Crain, sparking a 5-1 run, which included a block from Ashley Ray and a pair of kills from Kelli Cuthbertson and Calea Augustin, cutting their deficit to 23-21.
The rally came up short, however, as the Purple Dragons scored the final two points on a kill from Cali Hudson and an ace by Muff.
The intensity grew in the second set, as neither team was going to back down in a potential game-deciding set.
Picking right up where they left off, the Purple Dragons drew first blood, scoring back-to-back points on a pair of aces by Abbie Casper to go up 2-0.
The Trojans tied the score at 2-all thanks to kills by Crain and Ray.
Following a kill by Lauren Hurt, and an error which tied the score at 3-3, Pittsburg outscored Girard 9-4, to go up 12-7.
Muff contributed four of the nine points via an ace, two kills and a block. There were also two kills made by Hurt and Matlock.
PHS then committed two, point-scoring errors, but followed it up with a kill by Matlock and an ace by Kayla Clark to cushion the lead back to five points at 14-9.
Again the Trojans battled back to tie the score at 16-16 by going on a 7-2 run, thanks to four kills by Ray, which swung the momentum back in their favor.
Neither team backed down in the final moments of the game, as the 21-21 tie game was broken, following three consecutive points scored by Pittsburg — a block by Kidd, a kill by Matlock and an error, which gave PHS a 24-21 lead.
With their backs against the wall and down by one set, the Trojans got the three points back to tie the score at 24-24 on an error and a pair of kills by Laney Shireman and Crain.
The Purple Dragons closed out the victory, scoring one point on an error, before winning the game with a kill from Muff.
“Pittsburg is a good team we were able to compete with,” GHS head coach Lori Ferguson said. “I was really impressed with Taylor Muff and the rest of their team. I think they’re well coached, they work hard and they hustle. It was a fun game to play and a fun game to watch, I like to see them battle.”
Prior to the win over Girard, PHS defeated Fort Scott 2-0 by scores of 25-22 and 25-7.
“Fort Scott we have seen before, and we will see them again,” Mantooth said. “I’m sure we’ll all come back together and have to see where we go from today’s win.”
Pittsburg earned its second win of the night, defeating Columbus in two sets, by scores of 25-13 and 25-12.
“We haven’t seen Columbus at all,” Mantooth said. “They dig really well, and our girls kept the ball alive and were able to get some good rallies out of that game.”
Girard also grabbed a pair of wins over Fort Scott and Columbus, beating the Titans in two sets by scores of 25-11 and 25-13, before defeating the Tigers 25-12 and 25-16.
“I really felt like as the games went on, we got better,” Ferguson said. “I never really felt that loss of momentum or that loss of intensity, like sometimes we do feel, they stayed with it. Other than missing some serves, we played well. It was a good night.”
Pittsburg will hit the road for a rematch against Fort Scott at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Girard will host a triangular match against Galena and Southeast at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Jordan Buckamneer is a sports reporter of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @jbuckamneer.